Starting 8 June, Amazon will automatically enroll most of its Amazon’s devices to its new Sidewalk service in US. This offers sharing network to neighbors and outdoors.
While this has a various potential benefits to stay connected to your outdoor places like garage, neighbors and finding pets and so on. However, many users may not want to opt for it. However, before you do so, lets check out what is Amazon Sidewalk all about.
What Is an Amazon Sidewalk?
Amazon Sidewalk flags its new feature of shared network as “a new way to stay connected”. It will be cost free feature offering shared network via Sidewalk Bridge that will keep your Amazon smart devices connected to internet, even at outdoors, where network connectivity goes out.
For example, Echo, Ring security cams, smart outdoor lights, motion sensors and Tile trackers. While these devices works good within your home being connected to your Wi-Fi, but as you walk outside, like your garage or front door you lose the connectivity.
So, with this Amazon Sidewalk, users will able to access various benefits like easy device set-up, connectivity to neighbors or community and even makes finding pets or objects easier.
When enabled, the Amazon Sidewalk lets your devices automatically connect with the Sidewalk bridge without any logins. This feature will start by default from 8 June in the US for a number of compatible devices.
Starting 14 June, the Tile trackers will also going to be Sidewalk compatible. So, a tile trackers attached to your pet or keys or laptop bag if goes out missing that is outside the range of your Wi-fi, then the tracker will connect itself the other Sidewalk networks which you are connected to. Use the command “Alexa, find my keys” and the Tile tracker on your keychain will start ringing.
Amazon is also offering great deal on its Echo devices that is worth checking out.
Which Devices are compatible to Amazon Sidewalk Bridge?
According to Amazon, the compatible devices with Sidewalk Bridge or Sidewalk-enabled devices are:
- Echo Show (all models and generations),
- Ring Floodlight Cam (2019),
- Echo (3rd gen and newer),
- Echo Dot, Dot for Kids and Echo Dot with Clock(3rd gen and newer),
- Ring Spotlight Cam Wired and Mount (2019),
- Echo Plus (all generations),
- Echo Spot, Studio, Input and Flex.
These compatible devices will act as a mesh network within the neighbors or community via sidewalk bridge that to keep them connected.
While this makes connectivity easier, and finding pets or objects outdoor. However you will have to share your some of your bandwidth, which will be as low as “1/40th of the bandwidth used to stream a typical high definition video”.
What’s more, Amazon has capped the monthly consumption of data just 500 MB via maxing out the speed not more than 80kbps. This is the like streaming about 10 minutes of HD data.
What Is an Amazon Sidewalk Bridge?
Sidewalk Bridges are the devices that provide network connections to the Amazon Sidewalk. So, the Sidewalk-enables devices will act like Sidewalk Bridges. The main idea behind this features is to make devices more available or connected even to places where internet goes out. So, Amazon wants to use the smart-home devices to act like mini mesh hub, means that even your wi-fi goes down, then it uses low-bandwidth connectivity from other devices in the neighbors to go online.
The Amazon Sidewalk coverage offers enough connectivity that is required by these smart-home devices to go online. However, the range also depends upon the location and the number of the sidewalk bridges participating within the neighboring. It will keep getting stronger and better with more connectivity to the shared network.
As mentioned above, customers won’t be charged anything for this new Sidewalk service. Once, if need to have the compatible device. As s consequence, this will make easy set-up for new Amazon devices with the extended functionality of network connectivity.
Amazon Sidewalk Wants To Share Your Internet Bandwidth, should it be a serious privacy concern?
The very main concern about Amazon Sidewalk is to share your internet bandwidth with your neighbors. While this rule is default for all your neighbors having Sidewalk-enabled devices, so its like exchanging some of your internet bandwidth. While contributing a small portion of your internet bandwidth, which is then combined together to form a wider network reach among the neighbors.
Thus, your Ring Camera or smart bulb outdoors can temporarily connect to the neighboring internet and keep your device online, assuming of both the neighbors have the Sidewalk setup. This way, Amazon is going to improve the network visibility, stability and make the devices more connected from the outdoors.
Amazon Sidewalk uses Bluetooth, the 900 MHz spectrum and various other frequencies to extend the network coverage.
But how Amazon Sidewalk is going to preserve user’s privacy and security?
To this Amazon says that the transfer of information over the Sidewalk bridges will be encrypted. So, users opting for Sidewalk will not know or see the which Sidewalk-enabled devices they are connected to. It simply means, you will know that your Sidewalk-enabled devices is connected to a bridge but would not be personally identifiable.
Also, devices that your authorize to use the Sidewalk’s low-bandwidth connections will be allowed to connect to the Amazon Sidewalk bridge.
“Customer privacy and security is foundational to Amazon Sidewalk,”. “The Sidewalk network uses three layers of encryption to keep data shared over the network safe, and the same strong encryption standards are required for all applications and devices that use the network,” Amazon mentions to its blogpost.
Sidewalk Bridges will require your wi-fi for the operation, which will then connect to your Bridge and share a low-bandwidth connection with other Sidewalk-enabled devices. Such as your smart lights, sensors, Ring security camera and other Echo devices in locations where your home wi-fi is not available.
How The low-bandwidth connection is useful?
Enabling the Sidewalk, means your surroundings are connected via a low-bandwidth network. The range of its radio spectrum is around half a mile, that is enough for simple setup and locating devices or trackers. With the Sidewalk Bridges active, the wireless signals that has the potential to reach your outdoors via the bridge and extending to other Sidewalk-enabled device.
Being a low-energy potential the users can instantly access the smart home devices, while having any network outage on in the place, in garage or garden. That’s means your Ring doorbell will still work even if your wi-fi is not working, or you can use Tiles Bluetooth tracker to find your objects just like Airtag‘s Find MyNetwork. However, Sidewalk does not support high-bandwidth that means will still need a strong wi-fi to stream movies or other actions. Other low-power consuming devices like Tile trackers, CareBand and Level smart locks have already on Sidewalk.
Amazon is working on expanding the range of products low-power devices connecting via the Amazon Sidewalk. It will be like an additional option in terms of network crisis to quickly connect to the internet and go online on your smartwatches, Bluetooth trackers, smart door locks, lights, and sensors.
However, you can still have the option to opt out of the Amazon Sidewalk.
How to opt Out of Amazon Sidewalk
To opt out of Amazon Sidewalk, follow the steps:
- Open your Alexa app on your smartphone, laptop or tablet;
- Go to More > Settings > Account Settings > Amazon Sidewalk.
- Click the toggle next to the “Disabled” option.
Now, your network or smart devices will not come under the Amazon Sidewalk. If you don’t see the Amazon Sidewalk option on your Alexa app, it means your device is not compatible to it. So, you don’t have to worry anyway.
You can visit the FAQ page of Amazon Sidewalk to gather more details about it.